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CIO networks -- all they're cracked up to be?

I wonder whether you've noticed an increase in the number of CIO networking groups of late? ZDNet Australia has documented the rise of IT Pro Australia, and the CIO Network.

I wonder whether you've noticed an increase in the number of CIO networking groups of late?

ZDNet Australia has documented the rise of IT Pro Australia, and the CIO Network. We've also noticed of late a few other groups trying to make themselves known as a professional community for tech execs.

What interests me is, what are the motives of the companies/organisations who form these groups? They claim to be for the community, yet few are non-profit organisations.

Obviously there are substantial costs involved -- financing the events, promotion, administration, Web site development, etc.

So where is the return?

Call me a cynic (and many have), but I wonder whether it lies in having a captive audience of big-spending technology executives, with contact details to boot?

Now you may not actively conceal your organisation's infrastructure or contact details, but remember, this information is gold in the hands of marketers or salespeople.

And it's there that I suspect the attraction may lie for some companies/organisations in forming new 'CIO networks'.

Have you had an experience with such a group? Did it claim to be free of vendor involvement, only to be pushing another agenda? Or, conversely, have you found most CIO networking groups to be completely reasonable?